(CBS) Out most of the season with a torn left Achilles, Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright has been cleared for baseball activity and aims to secure a reliever role for St. Louis with the postseason approaching, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold reported Monday afternoon.
That was the good news for the Cardinals after an intense three-game weekend series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The tougher news is that catcher Yadier Molina has a “slight torn thumb ligament,” according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Molina was injured when he tagged out a sliding Anthony Rizzo at the plate in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game to preserve a 4-3 lead for St. Louis and an eventual win.
It’s not yet known how long Molina will be out, but he’ll be out at least a week before being reevaluated, Goold reported. Molina’s hitting .270 with four homers, 61 RBIs and a .660 OPS in 136 games. He’s also a key component of the Cardinals boasting baseball best ERA.
It’s also not yet known if Wainwright can return to form to nab a postseason roster spot, but it’s positive news for the team after his status was in doubt previously. Doctors evaluated Wainwright earlier Monday to weigh whether he could perhaps return or if he should be shut down for the entire season.
Wainwright, 34, is the Cardinals’ ace starter and had a 1.44 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in four starts earlier this season before suffering the injury in late April. Wainwright has postseason experience out of the bullpen, saving four games and throwing 9 2/3 scoreless innings in the 2006 playoffs as the Cardinals won the World Series.
St. Louis has a four-game lead on Pittsburgh in the NL Central with 13 games remaining. The way it currently sits, the Cardinals would face the winner of the wild-card playoff between the Cubs and Pirates.